From first to last, it had been a morning full of hugs. I returned to the 8:30 service at First Baptist, Moss Bluff, for the first time since I have been on medical leave. I saw a couple of people in the parking lot on the way in, and gave them a hug. As I walked in the door, I gave the greeter at the door a hug. I was met and hugged by several folks on our way in to find a seat, and even after the service had started, as we were sitting on the back by the entrance door, the latecomers (perhaps the majority in the 8:30 service!;) would see me and stop and give me a hug too. During the greeting time more hugs followed, and after the service, despite Cheryl’s protests, I stood for about 20 minutes, greeting everyone who left, and giving and receiving more hugs. As we left, I felt so uplifted. It was a great morning. And evidently, it spilled over after I left.
Later that day, I had hankering for a pulled pork barbeque sandwich, so Cheryl drove me out to find some. Well, since it was Sunday, most every restaurant we tried was closed, but we finally found a place in Sulphur which was open, and I called in an order. I ran in to pick it up, and when I had paid for it, almost without thinking, I gave the senior adult cashier/waitress a hug. I chuckled to myself as I walked out – I couldn’t remember ever doing that before! The only reason I could think of for doing it today was that the hug at the restaurant just came from the overflow of so many hugs I had received that morning at church.
And isn’t a parable of sorts as to what should happen as a result of our worship gatherings — that what we experience there, we carry out to the world? Not just hugs (although that would be a good start!) but everything good we receive from church, we should take the overflow of it and share it with the world: the hugs we share, the words which encourage us, the songs we sing, the confidence that God is in charge, the teachings we hear – and especially the gospel, the good news that God has provided for our salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross. If our church experience is what it should be, we will be sharing all of these things when we go out in the world – NOT because someone is “guilting” us into it, but because it just naturally comes from the “overflow” of what we have experienced that day with the people of God in His presence. I am thankful for what I received from our church today – and very grateful that I could share just a bit of it with someone outside!